Pregnant Workers Fairness Act heads to voting file
Bill 297-36 protects pregnant employees from discrimination
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Senators are set to vote this week on a bill that would prevent workplace discrimination against pregnant employees.
Currently, there is no right under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act to workplace accommodations, and many pregnant workers have had to secure necessary accommodations through the court system—a lengthy and expensive process that has not always been successful.
Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes' Bill 297-36, titled the "Pregnant Workers Fairness Act," follows the framework set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act.
Muña Barnes said the bill seeks to guarantee the right to reasonable workplace accommodations for pregnant employees.
“No woman should have to choose between a job and her pregnancy, but for too many women, this is a choice they have to make," the vice speaker said.
"Women need to feel empowered to make decisions related to their pregnancy, and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act sets a clear standard for businesses to provide the temporary job modifications needed to maintain a healthy pregnancy,” she added.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is cosponsored by Sens. Mary Camacho Torres, Amanda L. Shelton and Jose “Pedo” Terlaje.
As of 2022, 31 states have passed similar legislation to protect pregnant workers.
“When pregnant workers are able to continue working and supporting their families, it’s a win for both employers and employees," Muna Barnes said.